Archive for the 'Religion' Category



A Desperate Cry From Iraq’s Christians

BY Herschel Smith
1 day, 5 hours ago

Breitbart:

Iraq’s Christian leaders have just made a desperate cry for help. Patriarch Louis Raphael I Sako, head of Iraq’s Catholic church, has issued an appeal “to all who have a living conscience in Iraq and all the world.”

The situation for Iraq’s Christians has been steadily deteriorating ever since the 2003 invasion, in part because the U.S. never acknowledged that Christians were being targeted by Islamists and did not prioritize protection of Christians or other minorities.

But with the recent sweep through Mosul and other Iraqi cities by the jihadi group ISIS, Iraq’s Christians look to be on the verge of genocide.

On June 16th it was reported that ISIS had marked the doors of Christians in red. Patriarch Sako’s letter confirms that rumor. While no one yet knows what this ominous sign foretells, Sako and other Christian leaders are pleading with the world to intervene before the meaning of the sign is made clear.

Oh, I think the meaning is clear.  Convert, pay jizya, or die.  Of course America ignored the plight of the Christians during “Operation Iraqi Freedom.”  The leadership didn’t care.

Nor does the leadership care today.  In fact, it runs well beyond political leadership to church leadership.  While we listen to sermons of introspection and the social gospel, Christians around the world are slaughtered.  When is the last time you even heard a prayer in a worship service for the suffering Christians worldwide?

American “Christians” are too busy trying to disarm each other (when we should be trying to arm each other and prepare for conflict), or focused on the disembowelment of what’s left of Christian theology in America to notice that fellow believers are dying or to say a thing about it.  Soft and weak, we are.  And very self centered.

Shame on the weak, pathetic, pitiful, disgusting, repulsive American Christianity.  Shame, now and in eternity.

The PCUSA On Guns

BY Herschel Smith
1 month ago

Presbyterian Church (USA) on guns:

Among other things, the Assembly’s action calls for:

  • formation of support, healing and advocacy groups for those who have experienced gun violence in their families;
  • opposition to legislation that exempts gun manufacturers and marketers from legal liability and/or financial accountability for the medical and security costs of predictable gun misuse and availability to criminals, the unstable, and the self-destructive;
  • opposition to “stand your ground” and other legislation that may entitle gun owners to shoot before taking alternative measures (such as relying on law enforcement and/or other de-escalation techniques) in perceived defense of persons or property;
  • encouraging church sessions and PC(USA) entities that own property to declare their particular premises and gatherings to be gun-free zones;
  • raising the age for handgun ownership to 21;
  • supporting legislation to ban semiautomatic assault weapons, armor-piercing handgun ammunition and .50-caliber rifles; and
  • advocacy in support of state and federal legislation to regulate ammunition.

I’m not part of the PCUSA, but having attended Reformed Theological Seminary, I know something about the history of Presbyterianism in the U.S.  The problem started with the Auburn Affirmation, and even before then from the theological liberalism that led directly to that abomination.

Notice that the denomination doesn’t just engage in tactical blundering and hot air.  To be sure, there’s plenty of that to go around.  Reliance on LEOs during period of peril to your life or the lives of your loved ones means that the fight is over by the time (8 – 15 minutes) a LEO arrives.

They go beyond their tactical incompetence and recommend bankruptcy of gun manufacturers when their weapons are misused (similar recommendations for Stanley, Kobalt, Craftsman and other manufacturers of hammers probably won’t be forthcoming when crimes are committed with hammers).  And if that’s not good enough, they recommend new laws that would end with confiscation and civil war when SWAT teams are sent to the doors of patriotic Americans who won’t allow their means of self defense to be confiscated.  So the PCUSA recommends what would inevitably become a bloody mess with cops laying dead in the streets and innocent citizens laying dead in their doorways.

In the mean time, they leave men and women undefended because of their turn to politics to address the theological problems of mankind.  We’ve discussed God’s views of the requirement to defend your loved ones.  The simplest case for killing those who would bring harm to your family lies in the decalogue.

God’s law requires [us] to be able to defend the children and helpless.  “Relying on Matthew Henry, John Calvin and the Westminster standards, we’ve observed that all Biblical law forbids the contrary of what it enjoins, and enjoins the contrary of what it forbids.”  I’ve tried to put this in the most visceral terms I can find.

God has laid the expectations at the feet of heads of families that they protect, provide for and defend their families and protect and defend their countries.  Little ones cannot do so, and rely solely on those who bore them.  God no more loves the willing neglect of their safety than He loves child abuse.  He no more appreciates the willingness to ignore the sanctity of our own lives than He approves of the abuse of our own bodies and souls.  God hasn’t called us to save the society by sacrificing our children or ourselves to robbers, home invaders, rapists or murderers. Self defense – and defense of the little ones – goes well beyond a right.  It is a duty based on the idea that man is made in God’s image.  It is His expectation that we do the utmost to preserve and defend ourselves when in danger, for it is He who is sovereign and who gives life, and He doesn’t expect us to be dismissive or cavalier about its loss.

So while you claim to be a lover of the children, you actually advocate abuse of children because you would disarm the very people with the sworn duty to protect, nurture and provide for them.

The PCUSA is directing its people to run their lives contrary to God’s law, while trying to implement warmed over, washed up hippie ideology as a solution to what ails mankind.  Thus goes perishing denominations.

More Love From The Religion Of Peace

BY Herschel Smith
1 month, 1 week ago

ABC News:

The video, set to sweetly lilting religious hymns, is chilling. Islamic militants are shown knocking on the door of a Sunni police major in the dead of night in an Iraqi city. When he answers, they blindfold and cuff him. Then they carve off his head with a knife in his own bedroom.

The 61-minute video was recently posted online by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, an al-Qaida splinter group of Sunni extremists. The intent was to terrorize Sunnis in Iraq’s army and police forces and deepen their already low morale.

CNS News:

While hundreds of thousands of Iraqis are affected by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant’s takeover of key cities including the Ninawa (Nineveh) provincial capital, Mosul, minority Christians – some of whom trace their origins to the earliest years of Christianity – are among those with the most to lose.

In previous years, Christians fleeting violence in Baghdad or elsewhere in the south often headed for the Mosul area. The Nineveh Plain formed the historic homeland of Assyrians, an ancient non-Arab ethnic group in Iraq. Main Christian denominations include Chaldean Catholic, Assyrian, Syrian Orthodox, Armenian and evangelicals.

Syria was another key destination for Christians who were able to leave Iraq, but the civil war there made life even riskier across the border than at home, prompting some to return.

For many Christians in the Mosul area now, the autonomous Kurdish region to the north-east may offer the best short-term hope – if they are able to cross over. Chaldean archbishop Amel Nona told the Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) he believed all Mosul’s Christians had left the city, and spoke of efforts to find emergency accommodation in ancient Christian villages in the Nineveh Plain.

As the jihadists swept into Mosul this week, they reportedly looted and torched churches, raised their black “there is no god but Allah” flags and started demanding that women wear the Islamic veil.

The Assyrian International News Agency identified two of the targeted churches as the Chaldean Church of the Holy Spirit, and an Armenian church under construction, which it said was bombed.

Barnabas Fund, an aid agency that supports minority Christians in Islamic countries, said the attacks on churches were “a clear statement from ISIS that they are no longer welcome in Mosul.”

“It is feared that this latest exodus could be the final death knell for the Christians of Iraq,” said Barnabas international director Patrick Sookdheo.

World Net Daily:

About 200 Americans under contract with the Department of Defense at Balad Air Force Base in Iraq are trapped by the al-Qaida-inspired jihadists who have seized control of two cities and are now threatening Baghdad, according to WND sources.

The U.S. contractors are at Balad to help the Pentagon prepare the facilities for the delivery of the F-16 aircraft the Obama administration has agreed to provide the Iraqi government.

The surrounded Americans said they currently are under ISIS fire from small arms, AK47s, and rocket propelled grenades, or RPGs.

The contractors so far have been able to hold the base, but those on the scene reported it was only a matter of time before the ISIS terrorists succeeded in breaking through the perimeter. The sources confirmed the contractors were still under siege, despite an Associated Press report Thursday, citing U.S. officials, that three planeloads of Americans were being evacuated from Balad.

Dear Christians With Guns

BY Herschel Smith
1 month, 3 weeks ago

Anastasia Basil:

Yes, I am a Godless American and a devoted mother of two who believes that the highest form of love doesn’t come from a supernatural being but from human beings. I make ethical decisions based on empathy and a deep appeal for fairness. So if you’ve ever wondered what a Godless American might be like, here’s an opportunity to know one. I like to bake birthday cakes from scratch and take in stray dogs. I am a Girl Scout leader.

As citizens, you openly prize two things: Jesus and the Second Amendment. Your cries for more God and more guns ring from sea to shining sea. We hear you. Believe me. But here’s the thing: As an American citizen of equal value, I can’t let you claim this country as a gun-loving Christian nation. I live a life of moral decency, as I’m sure you do too. But I do it gunless. This makes me indisputably more Christ-like than you.

In response, you will say I’m stifling your right to religion. Quite the opposite: I’m encouraging you to pick up your Bibles and live more in accordance with your religion. I’m asking you to choose between the right to bear arms and the right to quote Jesus. If you won’t give up your guns, then give up your identity as a Christian. Be disciples of Wayne LaPierre. Make your mantra “From My Cold, Dead Hands,” not “Turn the Other Cheek.”

Personally, I would love to stifle your right to the Second Amendment … I’m going to pray to Christian pro-gun senators like Tim Scott — a man with real power to intervene.

Dear Anastasia,

None of this works like you think it does.  I know what you’re thinking.  You think that Jesus was some long haired hippie peacenik who traveled Israel waving peace signs and singing Kumbaya.  The reality is much more complex and difficult for people like you to deal with.  Passages like this one:

Think not that I came to send peace on the earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I came to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law” Matthew 10:34-35

Make no more sense to you than the notion that Jesus told his disciples to get swords for their self defense.  You say that “As an American citizen of equal value, I can’t let you claim this country as a gun-loving Christian nation.”  But see, you cannot stop me.  I can claim what I wish, and the real test of endurance is whether I am telling the truth.

God doesn’t regard your prayer since you don’t believe in Him (Proverbs 28:9, Psalm 66:18, Isaiah 59:2, and so many other passages).  And as for your prayer to Mr. Scott, he doesn’t hear you either.  And Mr. Scott isn’t omniscient.  But God says:

Declaring the end from the beginning, And from ancient times things which have not been done, Saying, ‘My purpose will be established, And I will accomplish all My good pleasure’ (Isaiah 46:10).

But since you don’t believe in God, you have no means to effect anything.  God doesn’t hear you, and Mr. Scott doesn’t control anything.  It wouldn’t matter.  You wouldn’t change God’s law with your prayers anyway, you would only be asking God to change your own heart.  It seems to me that you don’t want your views to be changed, so your heart is hardened.  You’re at a dead end, Anastasia.

As for me, you cannot possibly do anything to my views of the Bible and guns.  I see things through the eyes of the holy Scriptures.  I’ve pointed out that God’s law requires me to be able to defend the children and helpless.  “Relying on Matthew Henry, John Calvin and the Westminster standards, we’ve observed that all Biblical law forbids the contrary of what it enjoins, and enjoins the contrary of what it forbids.”  I’ve tried to put this in the most visceral terms I can find.

God has laid the expectations at the feet of heads of families that they protect, provide for and defend their families and protect and defend their countries.  Little ones cannot do so, and rely solely on those who bore them.  God no more loves the willing neglect of their safety than He loves child abuse.  He no more appreciates the willingness to ignore the sanctity of our own lives than He approves of the abuse of our own bodies and souls.  God hasn’t called us to save the society by sacrificing our children or ourselves to robbers, home invaders, rapists or murderers. Self defense – and defense of the little ones – goes well beyond a right.  It is a duty based on the idea that man is made in God’s image.  It is His expectation that we do the utmost to preserve and defend ourselves when in danger, for it is He who is sovereign and who gives life, and He doesn’t expect us to be dismissive or cavalier about its loss.

So while you claim to be a lover of the children, you actually advocate abuse of children because you would disarm the very people with the sworn duty to protect, nurture and provide for them.

I know, Anastasia, this is difficult to hear.  It’s a world view to which you aren’t accustomed because, as we’ve discussed, you think Jesus was a hippie peacenik rather than the Son of the living God.  But the truth scatters the darkness, and if I must be the one to purvey the truth so that it can trouble your soul, then so be it.

Oh, there is one final thing for you to ponder.  As for Christians and their guns, you were never taught this in your schools because public schools are incubators of communism who specialize in telling lies.  But the war for American independence would never have been fought had it not been for the sermons preached by preachers in pulpits who taught the folk about covenant theology in the best tradition of continental and Scottish Calvinism.

America would never have been America had it not been for Christians and their guns.  Now, it may be that you would rather be a subject of the Queen.  I hear that gun laws are stringent in her country.  But be careful.  If you move there, you might have to convert to Islam and wear a burqa, and your husband might beat you for the slightest thing.  If anyone ever tries to do that to my women or children, I’ll shoot them.  Because as a Christian, I care about women and children.

Concerning The Nigerian Christian Girls

BY Herschel Smith
2 months, 1 week ago

John McCain says this concerning the kidnapped Christian girls in Nigeria.

“If they knew where they were, I certainly would send in U.S. troops to rescue them, in a New York minute I would, without permission of the host country,” McCain told The Daily Beast Tuesday. “I wouldn’t be waiting for some kind of permission from some guy named Goodluck Jonathan,” he added, referring to the president of Nigeria.

Of course, that’s not the solution for Christians anywhere.  U.S. special operations (McCain probably meant “operations,” not “forces”), cannot and should not be the moral conscience of the world.

Christians have been run out of Mesopotamia, killed and tortured in Egypt, and are being brutalized all over the world.  And the evil leader of this Islamic group in Nigeria claims that he has converted the girls to Islam.

He can “convert” the girls because all he has to do is force them under threat of death to say a few things and wear a few more clothes.  Islam has no Holy Spirit who moves as He will and does what he wishes, converting the hearts of His people.  Rather, it is a man-made religion, concocted by a violent and self serving seventh century warlord, child abuser, pedophile and murderer for the purpose of keeping his roving bad of hoodlums and ne’er-do-wells together.  It’s pronouncements are ad hoc groupings of ridiculous assertions, and the only thing not illogical in all it its literature was stolen from other faiths.  The seeds of violent subjugation are within the texts of Islam itself.  It isn’t a religion of peace.  It’s a religion of perverts and totalitarians.

Christians can preachy preach the gospel of pacifism if they want to.  They can conflate the Bible to mean that Christians must be a doormat for the world.  But it was preachers who supplied the moral underpinnings of the American war for independence.  There is nothing necessary in the modern  squishy Christianity we hear and see today.  It’s a choice because at the moment it’s convenient to make that choice and feel morally superior to everyone else.

But children are dying all over the world.  As long as Christians want to mouth silly platitudes to parishioners and congregants, Christian children will continue to die, and Christians will have to flee for their lives.  The solution lies in arming themselves and waging the good fight against Islamists everywhere.  A well placed .308 to the whole body, or several rounds of 5.56 to the head and chest, or a 230 grain .45 fat boy through the stomach should do just fine at stopping the Islamists in Nigeria.

Christians.  Buy guns and ammunition.  Learn to use them.  The Islamists are closer than you think, and sooner or later calls to prayer will be heard in places other than Detroit, Michigan.  Americans aren’t immune to this problem.  We’re just the final conquest.

See WRSA for some well placed ridicule of McCain.

See also Christians, The Second Amendment, And The Duty Of Self Defense.

Guns: Think Of The Children

BY Herschel Smith
2 months, 2 weeks ago

From a pastor in the UMC (where else?).

Consider for a moment a nightmare scenario: A person walks into your worship service and brandishes or, worse still, actually fires, a weapon.

Now, because your church has opted into our state legislature’s new law allowing licensed gun owners to bring weapons to church, several folks in the congregation are able to draw their guns and return fire.

Now, look into that scene and tell me truthfully: Does the second half of that scenario make you feel safer? In the chaos of such a moment, are worshipers in LESS peril because MORE people are shooting?

I’ll admit, however, that my perspective, like any personal view, isn’t simply practical. My opinion is shaped by my Christian faith and beliefs.

[ ... ]

I’m not saying there is no place for power or weapons in the protection of the innocent (my own son is a police officer, and people I love and respect are in the military). I AM saying that guns in the church are:

• a danger to the very people we would protect,

• one more barrier between us and Christ, and

• no more than the illusion of security.

And then there is this from Patheos.

My views on our gun culture are fairly simple.  It can be boiled down to this: the human tradition of the second amendment does not trump the divine revelation of the fifth commandment. That’s because, to repeat, the single most important fact of our gun culture is 30,000 corpses each year.

Notice that our UMC pastor tips his hat to the necessary evil of having to use violence by pointing to police (while not mentioning a man’s own protection of his family), but says that it is a “barrier between us and Christ.”

Also take note how he paints the picture.  It is one of a perpetrator firing wildly, and a would-be self defender, rather than shooting in a controlled manner to end the violence and thus save innocent lives, firing wildly in return.  It’s a painting of two whirl tops shooting indiscriminately rather than with purpose.

He does this to bias his ignorant readers into thinking that folk who carry guns are going to go wild and whirl top on their families.  But the pastor knows that something is wrong with his argument.  He knows that there is no stopping a gunman unless someone else has a gun.

His solution?  “The way of the cross is true and good. Be not afraid.”  But here his powers of Biblical exegesis (if he ever had any) fail him.  Christ never promised that his propitiatory sacrifice on the cross would stop gunmen.  The ignorant pastor conflates different subjects in the Bible.

We’ve discussed this before.  Relying on Matthew Henry, John Calvin and the Westminster standards, we’ve observed that all Biblical law forbids the contrary of what it enjoins, and enjoins the contrary of what it forbids.  Thus have I said:

God has laid the expectations at the feet of heads of families that they protect, provide for and defend their families and protect and defend their countries.  Little ones cannot do so, and rely solely on those who bore them.  God no more loves the willing neglect of their safety than He loves child abuse.  He no more appreciates the willingness to ignore the sanctity of our own lives than He approves of the abuse of our own bodies and souls.  God hasn’t called us to save the society by sacrificing our children or ourselves to robbers, home invaders, rapists or murderers. Self defense – and defense of the little ones – goes well beyond a right.  It is a duty based on the idea that man is made in God’s image.  It is His expectation that we do the utmost to preserve and defend ourselves when in danger, for it is He who is sovereign and who gives life, and He doesn’t expect us to be dismissive or cavalier about its loss.

So our writer at Patheos and the UMC pastor are both equally theologically shallow and childlike.  We can only hope that their influence is commensurate with their poor knowledge of the Scriptures.

As for guns in churches (and anywhere else for that matter), think of the children and the mandate by God to protect them.  If you cannot do that you are guilty of violating God’s law.  Think of the children.

Supreme Court Won’t Block Ban On High Capacity Magazines

BY Herschel Smith
4 months, 1 week ago

SFGate:

The U.S. Supreme Court refused Wednesday to halt Sunnyvale’s enforcement of a voter-approved ban on high-capacity gun magazines. The order signaled that San Francisco will also be allowed to enforce a virtually identical ordinance during court challenges.

Sunnyvale’s measure, approved by 66 percent of its voters in November, prohibits possession of magazines carrying more than 10 cartridges.

A group of gun owners sued to overturn the Sunnyvale ordinance and asked a federal judge to block its enforcement, arguing that tens of millions of Americans legally own guns with high-capacity magazines and may sometimes need them to repel criminal attacks.

But U.S. District Judge Ronald Whyte of San Jose rejected the request March 5, the day before the ordinance took effect, saying the ban would have little impact on the constitutional right to bear arms in self-defense.

A federal appeals court refused to intervene, and on Wednesday, Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, who handles emergency appeals from California and eight other Western states, denied a stay without comment.

More often than not, when the SCOTUS refuses to hear a case, they know full well how it will turn out and conclude that the outcome wouldn’t be any different than the way it is before review.

Occasionally I like the decisions made at the appeals court level.  But more often than not I don’t.  But one thing I do not do is rely on the federal court system to protect my rights.

I am a second amendment and gun rights writer, but I only loosely call myself that.  Readers know that I don’t believe that I have a right to own firearms because the constitution says so.  I also don’t believe in so-called “natural law” or “natural rights.”

Ever since my seminary training in apologetics and philosophy, having seen John Locke thoroughly dissembled with logic, I don’t reference his views for anything.  No respectable philosopher today does.  Even among the legal community, John Whitehead is an exception.  In order for something to be “natural,” it has to be binding upon all men and capable of epistemic certainty.  To me, the concept of a natural right to own guns is no better than the notion of the new head of a pride killing the young lions so that the lionesses will come into estrus again – or the lioness trying to defend her young one.  What’s natural to one won’t be natural to another.

So why do I have a right to own guns, or high capacity magazines?  Because God says so.  That settles it for me, whether the constitution recognizes it or not, whether a judge certifies it or not.  You may not have my world view, and I’m okay with that.  But every man must come to his own conclusions and ascertain the ultimate foundation for what he does and what he believes.

You live on the Serengeti desert in a Machiavellian world of eat or be eaten, with no concept of right and wrong, or you know whereof you act, and you know why what you do and what you believe is morally righteous.  And If you were relying on a federal judge to warranty your rights, you’ve been disavowed of that mistaken belief as we speak.  Is that clear enough?

Does Jesus Shoot An AR-15?

BY Herschel Smith
5 months ago

So retired Lt. General William Boykin has stirred up some controversy alleging that Jesus will return to earth carrying an AR-15.

Boykin, a retired Army lieutenant general who now works at the lobbying group, was paraphrasing the biblical prophecy in Revelation 19 that describes Jesus returning to Earth as a “warrior” with a “sharp sword.”

But he believes the scripture is due for an upgrade.

“I’ve checked this out — I believe that sword he’ll be carrying when he comes back is an AR-15,” Boykin told the crowd at the Pro-Family Legislators Conference in Dallas.

“The sword today is an AR-15. If you don’t have one, go get one. You’re supposed to have one. It’s biblical,” he said.

More fascinating is the reaction from one Lt. Col. Robert Bateman.  We’ve had our run-ins with gun control fanatic Bateman before (here and here).  In order to understand what Bateman says, you have to listen to Boykin.  Bateman says of Boykin:

Wow, seriously? You believe that the fellow who preached “turn the other cheek” and “the meek shall inherit” and all that other stuff from the Sermon on the Mount, is coming back with blood on his robe?

The Second Amendment is from God. Hmmm. But yet surely, all this Jesus shooting a 5.56 NATO standard bullet from an AR-15 sticking out of his mouth must surely be metaphor, right? I mean that is how it has been interpreted for centuries. And then Lieutenant General, Three Star General Boykin (Ret.) continues:

“I know, everybody says that was a metaphor. IT WAS NOT A METAPHOR! …And that was the beginning of the Second Amendment, that’s where the whole thing came from. … I know that’s where it came from. And the sword today is an AR-15, so if you don’t have one, go get one. You’re supposed to have one. It’s biblical.”

Bateman in his previous encounters with us pretends to be a historical scholar.  Here he is pretending to be a Biblical scholar.  And he is intentionally conflating what Boykin said.  He (Boykin) wasn’t referring to Revelation 19 and whether it was metaphorical.  He was referring to whether the notion of bearing weapons for self protection (as Jesus discussed in Luke 22:36) is metaphorical.

Of course, just a little research could have shown Bateman that the idea of God as warrior is thoroughgoing in the Old Testament and a motif that is carried into the New Testament as well.  Jesus was no doormat or pacifist (see Matthew 10:34-36), and he certainly used violence when it was called for (Matthew 21:12).

Finally, we’ve covered how the American revolution has its roots in continental Calvinism.  I cannot speak for Boykin and what he sees as metaphorical or literal.  To me, Jesus upholds all things by the word of His power (Hebrews 1:3), and so doesn’t need an AR-15.

But He certainly didn’t intend to dissuade people from self defense (with Boykin I assert that it is a Biblical duty), and imagining Jesus as a long haired peacenik commits the error discussed by John Frame of applying an exclusive reduction (rather than an emphasizing reduction) to God.  Or perhaps Bateman has never read John Frame.

The Foundation Of Liberty

BY Herschel Smith
7 months, 3 weeks ago

Preliminaries

WRSA gives us a proposed formulation for the basis of liberty.

1) We believe and act upon the principles of the Declaration of Independence.

2) Government, to the extent that it is even necessary, must be effectively and eternally constrained, lest it turn once again into tyranny.

3) We believe that it is each individual’s duty and responsibility to provide all necessary support for oneself and one’s family.

4) Beyond the limitations imposed by traditional laws against murder, robbery, theft, rape, and assault, rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will, within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others.

5) Being essential to the protection and support of ourselves, our families, and our country, no restrictions upon speech, self-defense, arms-bearing, association, worship, private property, parental authority, or the privacy of one’s affairs and writings shall be permitted or tolerated.

This isn’t a bad start, and it’s certainly a daunting task to construct a philosophy for the governance of mankind in a short essay.  I should point out that I think that number (3) is woefully incomplete, and that in order to “act upon the principles of the Declaration of Independence,” it’s necessary properly to understand the foundations of the American revolution, what motivated those men, and why as John Adams observed, “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other” (which quote demolishes silly and uneducated objections like the citing the Treaty of Tripoli as counterevidence since it was politics done spuriously in order to allay the fears of a Mohammedan government).

The comments to the article are more interesting than the article itself.  Wombat remarks:

It is the most lazily appealing avenue to attribute the failing of society to the things we dislike.  We can all play the guessing game but in some cases the facts are plain. America has been brought to its knees under the watch of an indisputable Christian majority, so if you want to blame it on the godless heathens be aware. That dog doesn’t hunt.

And ghostsniper remarks:

America is a concept not a gender.Straighten up your act Ed.

A concept is incapable of *honoring* anything.*We* didn’t murder babies.

And later:

… the next time they show up around here I’m gonna turn the hounds of hell loose on them.

And then later:

Faithers *believe* because they have no capacity to do otherwise.

They have maxed out the capability of their thought process.

Like trying to reason with children.

Perhaps we ought to resist the temptation to hurl insults at ghostsniper that he wouldn’t comprehend (such as “Why don’t you try to reason with Professor Alvin Plantinga concerning his Warrant: The Current Debate, to see if you can keep up, or perhaps inquire of my personal friend Hans Halvorson, also a Christian, concerning his views on Quantum Theory or Superentangled States, or perhaps converse with my Christian friend Nolan Hertel concerning his views on the age of the earth).  Perhaps it may be more appropriate to observe that he has accidentally stumbled upon a relevant nugget of truth.  Are belief systems epistemically incorrigible?

With Professor Plantinga, I assert that they are (within certain boundary conditions such as absent the actions of a Sovereign God to change hearts and minds).  My belief Christian belief system is incorrigible, but so is his whether he knows it or not.  And when I say “system” I mean certain things and not others.

To assert a basis for liberty without the context of a world view is vacuous and without compelling force.  We’ll deal with this shortly.

The American Revolution: Analysis & Commentary

Before we can understand where America stands and how to construct a foundation for liberty, we must understand the American experiment at its core because it is the only revolution that has succeeded in supplying the freedom necessary for life, prosperity and peace.

R. J. Rushdoony remarks in “The Nature of the American System” (page 2):

Two causes stand out clearly as basic to the break between the Colonies and George III.  The first cause was the religious issue.  John Adams cited the attempt of parliament to force the establishment of the Church of England on the colonies as responsible, “as much as any other cause,” for the break.  “The objection was not merely to the office of a Bishop, though even that was dreaded, but to the authority of parliament, on which it must be founded.”  We can agree with Bridenbaugh that “It is indeed high time that we repossess the important historical truth that religion was a fundamental cause of the American revolution.”

Does this mean that the American revolution was irreligious or anti-religious?  Not even nearly.  Turning to my former professor at Reformed Theological Seminary, Douglas Kelly, in “The Emergence of Liberty in the Modern World” (page 120 – 126):

In terms of population alone, a high percentage of the pre-revolutionary colonies were of Puritan-Calvinist background.  There were about three million persons in the thirteen original colonies in 1776, and perhaps as many as two-thirds of these came from some kind of Calvinist or Puritan connection.

[ ... ]

… by 1776, nine of the thirteen original colonies had an “established church” (generally congregational in New England, Anglican in New York, Virginia and South Carolina, “Protestant” in North Carolina, with religious freedom in Rhode Island, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware and Georgia) … While this did not necessarily mean that a majority of the inhabitants of these colonies were necessarily committed Christian believers, it does indicate the lingering influence of the Calvinist concept of a Christian-based civil polity as an example to a world in need of reform.

Returning to Rushdoony (page 2):

Every colony had its own form of Christian establishment or settlement.  Every one was a kind of Christian republic.  It was to them a monstrous idea … for an alien body, parliament, to impose an establishment on them.  The colonies were by nature and history Christian … to read the Constitution as the charter for a secular state is to misread history, and to misread it radically.  The Constitution was designed to perpetrate a Christian order.

So how did this religious-based opposition to the decrees of George III play out in the colonies?  Returning one final time to Doug Kelly (page 121).

Their experience in Presbyterian polity – with its doctrine of the headship of Christ over the church, the two-powers doctrine giving the church and state equal standing (so that the church’s power is not seen as flowing from the state), and the consequent right of the people to civil resistance in accordance with higher divine law – was a major ingredient in the development of the American approach to church-state relations and the underlying questions of law, authority, order and rights.

[ ... ]

It was largely from the congregation polity of these New England puritans that there came the American concept and practice of government by covenant – that is to say: constitutional structure, limited by divine law and based on the consent of the people, with a lasting right in the people to resist tyranny.

Take note that we aren’t asserting that every man must be a Christian for a fundamentally Christian society to obtain.  We are asserting that the polity and laws must follow the basic tenants of Christianity.  This is what obtained in Colonial America and what formulated the basis for the American revolution.

Furthermore, notice that while the revolution was largely religious in nature, it wasn’t a rebellion against religion.  It was a rebellion against the idea that a centralized, dislocated power would impose its will on them, especially in terms of religious polity and laws.  Finally, note that the Calvinian idea of covenant underlies the principles of the American revolution.

It wasn’t a war of rabblerousers, troublemakers or hoodlums.  It was a revolt against a centralized power based on the idea that that power had broken covenant with God and with them, and only thus did they have the right to replace that power.  Power is best located nearest the people where they can hold rulers accountable, a fundamental formulation in the rights of states (or Colonies) early in the days of the republic.

Personal Observations & Conclusions

I’ll now address other, related issues and questions based on the discussion above.

America as a Christian Nation

As to the notion that “America has been brought to its knees under the watch of an indisputable Christian majority,” there is nothing indisputable in that assertion and I do indeed dispute that there is currently or has even recently been a Christian majority.  That statement could have been [correctly] made at the founding of the country, but not now an any meaningful sense.

I can assert that I am the king of Siam, but that doesn’t make it so.  That’s the failure of the ridiculous term “co-religionists,” which means nothing except that the person using the term is a coward (or perhaps just ignorant if we are gracious to him).

Going to church doesn’t make one a Christian.  Asserting so doesn’t make one a Christian.  Pretending so doesn’t make one a Christian.  Doing public “good” doesn’t make one a Christian.  Claiming to do things in the name of Christ doesn’t make one a Christian (Matthew 7:23).  Being a Christian involves a change of heart and mind by the work of a sovereign God who isn’t Himself moved or swayed by the words of man.

America as a Christian nation means more than just the majority of people having been raised within Christian families, professing Christianity and practicing Biblical law in their lives.  It involves Christian polity and public law – implementing rules for how men behave towards one another that is pleasing to God.  That existed at the time of our founding.  We have left that formulation, and thus have we perished as a nation.

The Requirement for a Clash of World Views

The pragmatists recommend keeping politics and religion away from the dinner table at the holidays.  Conversely, my son Joseph recent did a mission trip to the Dominican Republic, and was pleasantly surprised at the almost reflexive tendency to openly discuss world view and religious persuasion over the dinner table.

America has largely lost the ability to think deep thoughts (and cannot even keep up with folks in the DR) because so much of the country reflexively gets sauced and watches idiotic nighttime sitcoms rather than engaging in reading, discussion, learning and challenging each other – no, not talk show challenging, but serious methodological challenges to the logical order and consistency of world views.

The reference to “natural laws” and what nature may teach us is quaint and amusing, but philosophically outdated and meaningless.  Nature confers upon us nothing, and certainly not rights of any sort.  What may be obvious to us is contrary to the pronouncements of others who look at the same “nature.”  To John Dewey, John Stuart Mill and in more drastic form the communists, whatever works the best and achieves the greatest good for the greatest number is “good” (whatever that means).

But under this rubric many men and women have perished, a fact that is acceptable to the communists.  Under this rubric many millions of unborn infants in America have also perished, a fact that is wholly acceptable to the pragmatists and utilitarians.  The tribes in Ethiopia engaged in the practice of killing healthy baby boys whose top teeth came in before his bottom teeth.

America has for a long time found acceptable the idea of theft through taxation and inflation (both of which steal wealth), because that’s what the majority say.  If one turns to “nature” for values, whatever that means, perhaps the best source for ethics and morality would be watching male lions kill the cubs of females so that they come into estrus, or watching other animals as they steal kills.  Again to emphasize the point, nature cannot reveal a system of laws and turning to natural law means that you haven’t thought things through.

For those who have taken courses in apologetics or philosophy (and also for those who haven’t), a world view requires a system of categories working together, including metaphysics, ontology, ethics, epistemology, and so forth.  All of it is usually seen to be based on epistemology, as that category of philosophy describes and explains your source of truth.

It also requires that you posit your presuppositions beforehand.  Arguing that you want “reason” instead of “faith” belies ignorance (and the failure to take courses in math and philosophy).  Recalling the advice of Gordon H. Clark, you need to take a class in geometry.  All logic is governed by rules of deduction, but based on presupposition, axiomatic irreducibles.  If it can be demonstrated it is a pronouncement of your syllogism, not a presupposition.

With the right presuppositions you can demonstrate that the moon is made of green cheese.  You must state yours, and we get to examine them, along with your syllogisms.  What is your source of truth?  You see, these things are necessary before your system can amount to anything.  Otherwise, you’re an infant trying to read a calculus textbook.

Politics is ethics.  It is part of a larger system of philosophy, and it cannot be posited in a vacuum without being void of compelling argument.  You must explain how you know what you know in order for us to judge it, and all of your system must show itself to be consistent with the rest.  This is what philosopher Gordon H. Clark shows so well in “Religion, Reason and Revelation.”

More specifically, in the first chapter Clark shows that the proper way to compare and contrast world views is just that, i.e., religion cannot be separated from other world views because it posits a person (or trinity of persons) from whom revelation flows.  From the utilitarian and instrumentalist, to the communist and anarchist, every man has a god, whether it is himself, his desires, the so-called needs of the many, the utility of ideas, or whatever.  Separating world views based on whether there is such a thing as revelation suffers the logical fate of begging the question because the definition poses that which has been assumed rather than demonstrated.  It’s best for you just to queue up your world view, and for me to queue up mine, and let them fight it out.  We’ll see which one is most consistent and compelling.  Unless, of course, you would rather watch night time sitcoms rather than consider philosophical questions?

The Success of the American Revolution

The American revolution was wrought in substantial measure by men who were willing to lose everything for the sake of what was right, good and what they perceived as holy.  No other revolution has accomplished what it did, especially the French revolution which was a product of the enlightenment.

America has diminished because it has rejected the theories upon which it was built.  But it will ever be that way with no source of truth.  As another professor mine observed, “Statism, in all of its forms, is the logical result of autonomous man attempting to govern himself” (C. Gregg Singer, “From Rationalism to Irrationality,” page 411).

Because of the philosophical problem of the one and the many, man’s attempts to fix his problems will invariably land him in anarchy or totalitarianism (see Rousas J. Rushdoony, “The One and the Many”).  References to pronouncements that I may make because of my world view (e.g., murder is sinful, theft shouldn’t be tolerated, the state is accountable to both God and the people, etc.) are allowed for you even if I find it amusing, but take note that you are borrowing from my world view rather than finishing your own.

To the degree that you don’t develop and complete your world view you are inhibiting conversation because you cannot hold up your end of the bargain to engage in the so-called clash of world views.  And to the degree that you develop a world view that is a recapitulation of one that has gone before, yours will end in totalitarianism.  I guarantee it.  If you argue that you haven’t read all of the philosophy or history text books, you’re arguing for laziness as an excuse.  I’m unimpressed.  I’m sorry that you’re intellectually lazy, but I can’t help you with that.

Finally, to the extent that you are looking for or trying to develop a foundation for liberty that ignores the religious elements of the American revolution, you’re being dishonest.  Our founders were men of character, faith, and fight.  Being men of fight and leaving the character and faith to someone else is a poor substitute for the foundation of liberty in America.  It means that we who do that are not even in the same league as our founders.  It also means that we will fail at our goals and initiatives – I guarantee it.  But if our beliefs are incorrigible, those who are merely fighters (without character or faith) may even be unable to diagnose this malady.  Beware of such men.

Individual and Corporate Accountability, and The Death of Nations and Men

I said earlier that proposition #3 was incomplete.  I have explained that the expectation is not and was never for the state to provide for the needs of the needy.  The state has more and more taken this role to itself as the church and family have left the scene (and as we have allowed the state to usurp God’s authority).  Likewise, when nation-states allow national sins to occur (like abortion), at times in history God’s judgment encircles the entire nation.  He holds people accountable corporately, not just individually.  This is demonstrated all through the Holy Scriptures.  If you haven’t read them, I cannot help you because you’re arguing for laziness again.

And while we may agree that taxation is theft by the power of a badge and gun, that doesn’t mean that we aren’t to provide for the needy (see the admonition of Paul and James concerning widows and orphans).  Families may not always be able to assist because they may not exist.  In such instances, the church and other families show the national character by the care they give widows and orphans.  And again note that I didn’t place the role of support on the state.  I placed it squarely where God does – families and churches, with all institutions accountable to God, including our governors and lawmakers.

For those who have been in any way engaged in dependent care, you have become aware of what I already know.  The elderly cannot care for themselves – or at least, they are much less able to care for themselves than are we.  We can collect our guns, ammunition, gold, tactical gear and food stuffs, but the reality is that there is a short window of time in life where that means anything.

I may carry weapons from room to room with me when I make my way around the house, and carry them on my way about my business on a daily basis.  But one day soon, my life and yours will be snuffed out.  We will perish from the face of the earth, along with any memory of us.  The very small segment of the world that knew we existed will forget us.  Then we will face judgment in front of our creator.

That day, our mouths will be closed.  We will not speak.  There will be no defense.  Christ will be our advocate, or we will be told to depart.  No amount of guns and ammunition will be able to change things.  Before that day we will be as helpless as the other elderly for whom God has made us accountable – unable even to move at times, much less provide for ourselves.  We will be dependent upon other men in life, and God’s judgment in death.

Take care that your world view is sufficiently humble.  You won’t be “unleashing the hounds of hell” on anyone.  You will soon be old and feeble, and then you will die.  “It is appointed unto man once to die, and after this the judgment” (Hebrews 9:27).  Understand that whatever designs you have for your family and your nation depends upon the favor of a sovereign God, and not your own “wisdom.”  No basis for liberty that ensconces sin or ignores the demands of a sovereign God (whether theft by taxation, abortion, or whatever) will ever succeed.  “Do homage to the Son that He not become angry and you perish in the way” (Psalm 2:12).

And thus no one who reads this article will have the excuse that he has never heard this.

Baptist Forum Does Gun Control

BY Herschel Smith
8 months ago

Baptist Standard:

ABILENE—Christians who advocate gun rights on grounds of self-defense have lost sight of the radical nature of Jesus’ message, a Hardin-Simmons University professor told a student-initiated forum on gun violence.

“Americans have a deep love of salvific violence, the idea that with the use of force—the use of deadly force—against the right kind of people, we can make things turn out OK,” said Rodney Taylor, assistant professor of theology at HSU. “I think the cross, however, says something very different. What we see in the cross is the overcoming of violence, not through resistance, but rather through trust in God.”

Speaking on “God and Guns: The Way of Jesus in a Violent World,” Taylor critiqued the argument of self-defense as a natural right by comparing and contrasting it to Christian beliefs about premarital sex. To non-Christians, a prohibition against sex outside marriage seems like a “strange command,” he noted.

“But there are a lot of other strange commands there that Jesus gives us that seem counterintuitive,” he said. “I think the problem with the natural right of self-defense is that it loses sight of the kind of radical message that we see in the gospel—this radical approach that Jesus gives us that is counterintuitive, that doesn’t really seem to fit.”

The reason it doesn’t fit is because it is nonsense fabricated entirely out of their minds rather than being found in the Bible.

We’ve covered this before in Christians, The Second Amendment And The Duty Of Self Defense.  There are at least a couple of problems with this forum and its pronouncements on guns.  First, professors in anything, those who have spent vast quantities of money and time in so-called “higher education,” want to believe that they’ve discovered something new, something exciting, something breathtaking, something no one has ever seen.

To get a little pointy headed here and diverge into a sidebar comment that few of my readers will know about (but these professors will), this is one of the features of the so-called new perspectives in Paul and N. T. Wright.  No one before him, he must necessarily believe, not Augustine, not Anselm, not Calvin, not Beza, not W.G.T. Shedd, not Hodge, not Dabney, and on the list could go, has gotten it right.  God left it to him to really explain what the apostle Paul was saying.  Everyone else in history was wrong.

Likewise for this forum, every other theologian was wrong about the justification (and even necessity and duty) of self defense.  This is quite an arrogant way to live and think, but academia is shot through with it.  The second problem is that this forum is comprised of progressive, contemporary theologians who believe in nothing much except the social gospel.  Thus, they want to correct or ameliorate broad, sweeping social ills not by preaching salvation by grace through faith to individuals, but by statist control over the collective.

This is easy, folks.  The sixth commandment controls us in this matter.  God forbids the opposite of what he enjoins, and He enjoins the opposite of what He forbids.  Thou shalt not kill means thou shalt save life.  These forum members would sooner allow their wives to be raped and murdered by home invaders than lift a hand to save the one God gave them to protect.  Or, they would fight to save their wives, making them to be liars, and worse, profoundly stupid liars because they chose to use one of the least effective weapons to defend the loved ones under their charge.

Take your pick.  Silently stand by and watch their wives be raped, or they become liars; not even they believe a word of what they have to say, and so you shouldn’t either.  And for the record, God has made no promise to save their wives in home invasions while they silently stand and watch.  Let’s make this even more visceral by quoting what I said earlier.

God has laid the expectations at the feet of heads of families that they protect, provide for and defend their families and protect and defend their countries.  Little ones cannot do so, and rely solely on those who bore them.  God no more loves the willing neglect of their safety than He loves child abuse.  He no more appreciates the willingness to ignore the sanctity of our own lives than He approves of the abuse of our own bodies and souls.

God hasn’t called us to save the society by sacrificing our children or ourselves to robbers, home invaders, rapists or murderers. Self defense – and defense of the little ones – goes well beyond a right.  It is a duty based on the idea that man is made in God’s image.  It is His expectation that we do the utmost to preserve and defend ourselves when in danger, for it is He who is sovereign and who gives life, and He doesn’t expect us to be dismissive or cavalier about its loss.

And even more to the point, “If you believe that it is your Christian duty to allow your children to be harmed by evil-doers (and you actually allow it to happen) because you think Christ was a pacifist, you are no better than a child abuser or pedophile.”  So here is a challenge for the forum members.  Prove to me and my readers that your views don’t really mean that you wouldn’t save a child being harmed or your spouses being raped.  Prove to me that you’re better than a child abuser or pedophile?  And if you would act to save a life in this way, why would you choose a means that ensured your failure?


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